Promoting passenger trains as a transportation alternative in Florida since 1983.  We are citizens who advocate for Amtrak, commuter rail, intercity rail and transit for Florida's future.

The Silver Rail Blog

  • 25 Jun 2019 2:08 PM | Gregory Behun (Administrator)

    Yesterday, I attended the groundbreaking ceremony for construction of the Orlando segment of Virgin Trains USA (formerly Brightline).  Citing the historical roots for this route in the legacy of Henry Flagler and the Florida East Coast Railroad, the emphasis of the ceremony was the rebirth of passenger rail in the United States.  While the Golden Spike marked the culmination of the transcontinental railroad 150 years ago, the Red Spike marks the beginning of a renaissance of passenger rail in America and Virgin Trains USA.  Citing the market sweet spot as distances "too close to fly and too far to drive", Virgin Trains sees opportunities not just in Florida (Miami to Orlando, Orlando to Tampa), but other corridors as well.  Las Vegas to Los Angeles, Dallas to Houston, Chicago to St. Louis were some of the corridors mentioned that Virgin is looking at.  

    There were many in attendance and it appeared to be well-covered by the press.  Among those that I recognized were Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, Jim Mathews, president of Rail Passengers Association, John Mica, former U.S. Congressman, Eugene Skoropowski, former Managing Director of the Capitol Corridor in California and retired Senior VP of Operations for All Aboard Florida, along with several Virgin Trains officials and Florida politicians and the mayor of Orlando.  

    It was exciting to see the passionate interest in the success of this endeavor among those in attendance.  Clearly, rail passenger service is being viewed as a necessity to meet the growing transportation needs of Florida and the nation.  

    Greg Behun

    See linked PDF file for pictures from the event:

    Virgin Trains GB 24May2019.pdf

  • 30 May 2019 4:28 PM | Stephen Sayles (Administrator)

    Here is a link to a letter I mailed to Governor DeSantis earlier this month to dispute the recent state legislation passing of FDOT plans for Toll roads. of course not one mention of rail which is normal MO for them. 

  • 29 Mar 2019 9:07 AM | Jackson McQuigg (Administrator)

    In testimony to Congress this week, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, citing Amtrak President/CEO Richard Anderson, stated that Amtrak's long distance trains are "unsustainable" and implied that they are little used.

    Florida passengers of busy long distance trains like the Silver Meteor, Silver Star, and the Auto Train will find these claims hard to believe, but Chao's comments do support President Trump's FY 2020 budget proposal, which envisions replacing the national network with subsidized bus service running on federally-subsidized highways.

    Good coverage of her testimony is found here in the Missoula Current newspaper: 

    Perhaps most troubling is that for the very first time in its history, proposed cuts to Amtrak service are being supported by claims from its very own management.  

    If you care about Florida's Amtrak trains, please contact Florida's U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, as well as your Congressman and tell them you support Amtrak's national network trains. If you need their contact information, use this link:

    Subsidized bus service or disconnected corridor trains around the country are not what is right for the country or for Florida.

     --Jackson McQuigg 

  • 10 Mar 2019 11:56 AM | Jackson McQuigg (Administrator)

    And the skeptics are extremely concerned. 

    From Railway Age Magazine: 

    --Jackson McQuigg 

  • 02 Mar 2019 9:11 AM | Jackson McQuigg (Administrator)

    Congressman Darren Soto wants more SunRail through parts of Polk County and advocates for it in this recent editorial in the Lakeland Ledger: 

    Polk's TPO has studied expanding SunRail further into Polk, so the support comes at a critical time: 

    Soto sees the merit in connecting SunRail to Brightline's planned Tampa-Orlando extension. There is no mention in his editorial of extending SunRail to the Amtrak station in Downtown Lakeland.

    --Jackson McQuigg 

  • 02 Mar 2019 9:04 AM | Jackson McQuigg (Administrator)

    We strongly support the expansion of Brightline. FCRP's President, Steve Sayles, was at the hearing in Tallahassee to speak in support of the financing for Brightline.

    From the Miami Herald: 

    --Jackson McQuigg 


  Join |  Archives  |  Contact us

               Florida Coalition of Rail Passengers, P.O. Box 30154, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420

(c) 1983-2022 Florida Coalition of Rail Passengers   
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software